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Nov 7, 2019

Our achievements in the third quarter of 2019

In the third quarter of 2019 the Moscow HR project had served 767 clients (total number of contacts – 1225) and provided 51668 clean syringes and 6 753 condoms. Our outreach workers have conducted 966 consultations on different health related issues and made 131 HIV rapid tests (of them 14 positive). We distributed informational materials on health and legal issues and a newspaper for drug users. We provided 237 consultation on overdose and distributed 716 ampules of Naloxone - a medicine that prevents the overdose death. Reports on 125lives being saved by Naloxone were received within the reporting period.

Also, within this period 4 case managers took new 21 cases for support and 3 legal consultants provided 109consultations on legal issues to project participants. The outreach work was conducted 5 days a week, in the evenings, by 11 outreach workers, with support of the mobile unit.

And we also would like to share with you one story of success illustrating our case management work within these three months period:

John (the name is changed) approached our Harm Reduction project 3 years ago. At first, he simply took clean syringes and consulted on how to treat a trophic ulcer on his leg. John came to the ARF mobile unit 2 or 3 times a week. At some point he began to stay longer to communicate with our outreach workers. It became clear that our support was important to him. In the process of communcationwe found out that John has a difficult family situation - he lives with his brothers, who abuse him and who are not trouble-free themselves. John sometimes did not want to return home. Also, John had constant problems with microloans.

As time passed, John started constantly participate in different activities of the foundation, such as Support Don't Punish campaign and collection of the used syringes in his neighbourhood for further utilization. He became involved into the discussions of the repressive Russian drug policy and participated in heated debates on how it should be changed.

John also started thinking about his drug dependency treatment. He has been using drugs for about 10 years, and actually didn‘t remember those times when he was not using. However, he was very tired of the consequences of drug use, the constant risk of criminal prosecution, post-injection complications. ARF staff had conversations with John on that topic during a year. John also appraoched us with a request for legal support with regard to his microloans (debts) and problems ge had with the credit agencies. Our case manager Lena went to court with John to deal with documents, and moderated his communication with a lawyer. In the past 4 months, Lena and John have been constantly in touch. John clearly has greatly increased his trust, as well as his motivation to change something in his life. Several times he tried to go to the drug treatment clinic in Moscow, but every time he couldn‘t undergo the treatment process till the end. Lena and other ARF colleagues talked with John about the possibility to undergo rehabilitation in another city. And recently, John called Lena and told her that he would like to go to another city for rehabilitation. An agreement was quickly achieved with a friendly rehabilitation project in another city of Russia, we bought John a train ticket and helped him to pack for the trip.

Now John is in rehabilitation center in the city of Almetyevsk, this is a first such kind of experience for him. And we hope that this experience will be positive. After a couple of months of rehabilitation, John plans to return to Moscow, start working again and live separately from his brothers. For our part, we are ready to provide him with any support he might need upon his return.

Aug 9, 2019

Our work in Q2 of 2019

Today we would like to provide you with a brief overview of the work of our harm reduction project in a second quarter of 2019.

Within this period the outreach work was conducted 5 days a week, as always in the evenings, by 10 outreach workers, with support of the mobile unit. During this 3 months period the Moscow HR project had served 941 clients (total number of contacts – 1450) and provided 45 411 clean syringes and 8 509 condoms (1900 of them purchased within this project as well). Our outreach workers have conducted 1415 consultations on different health related issues and made 162 HIV rapid tests (of them 16 positive). We distributed informational materials on health and legal issues and a newspaper for drug users. We provided 282 consultation on overdose and distributed 415 ampules of Naloxone - a medicine that prevents the overdose death. Reports on 96 lives being saved by Naloxone were received within the reporting period. Also, within the reporting period 5 case managers took new 13 cases for support and 3 legal consultants provided 87 consultations on legal issues to project participants.
And here is one story illustrating our case management work:
ARF started working with Vladislav in 2018. At the time he became the client of our case management services, Vlad was conditionally sentenced to 3.5 years under Article 228 part 1 and Article 228 part 2 of Russian criminal code and was scheduled for a court hearing. The Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia requested a change of probation period for a real imprisonment for him. ARF delegated the social worker, Slava Matyushkin, to support Vladislav at the court session as a public defender. Thanks to the work of the ARF lawyers, as well as to the work of the case management team, the court decided not to support the petition of the Federal Penitentiary Service and Vladislav remained free. Under the terms of his conditional release, he had to undergo treatment for drug addiction. By that time, Vladislav himself decided to undergo treatment and subsequently undergo a course of rehabilitation. Previously, he repeatedly underwent treatment in drug treatment clinics in Moscow and each time the results were unsuccessful. ARF team together with Vlad decided to seek help from our partners and colleagues from rehab centre in Almetyevsk so that Vladislav could undergo treatment and rehabilitation in the Republic of Tatarstan. Funds were collected to purchase a ticket, and in three days Vladislav has left for treatment. While he was in rehab center, some miscommunication between the Federal Penitentiary Service and the narcologist took place, because the information about Vlad’s treatment related processes was not transmitted in a timely manner. ARF case management team resolved the situation by transferring the information from the clinic to all interested parties. Within three months, Vladislav underwent treatment and rehabilitation, after that he returned to Moscow and continued working with ARF as a volunteer of the harm reduction program. Recently Vladislav was able to find a job, started to attend NA groups but still continues to volunteer with ARF.
May 6, 2019

ARF received the International Award

At a Harm Reduction International Conference 2019 in Porto, Portugal, the Harm Reduction International has awarded its International Rolleston Award to a Russian NGO Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and social Justice (ARF). The award honors the work and contribution to the field of harm reduction at the international level.

This International Rolleston Award was first presented at the ‘3rd International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm’ in Melbourne in 1992. At each International Harm Reduction Conference (every two years since 2011), it is given to an organisation, group or individual who has made an outstanding contribution to harm reduction from psychoactive substances at the international level. The award is named after Sir Humphrey Rolleston, President of the Royal College of Physicians who chaired the UK Departmental Committee on Morphine and Heroin Addiction.

Andrey Rylkov Foundation’s mission is to promote and develop humane drug policy based on tolerance, protection of health, dignity and human rights. The Foundation activities focus on advocacy for better access to health care, including HIV prevention and treatment for people who use drugs.  Currently, the HIV epidemic in Russia is one of the fastest growing in the world, and injecting drug users are most hit by the epidemic. The Russian government is internationally critiqued for its neglect of the epidemic and reluctance to introduce life-saving, evidence-based, low-cost prevention programs, such as needle and syringe programs and opiate substitution treatment which constitute, according to the World Health Organization, the core of HIV work among injecting drug users. In this context, ARF leads community effort in advocacy for effective HIV programming, and provides lifesaving HIV prevention services for drug users in Moscow.

“We are very proud to become the winner of the International Rolleston Award this year. This is a huge support and acknowledgement of the advocacy work we do in EECA region and Russia in particular to ensure the access of people who use drugs to the needed harm reduction services and to promote the humane drug policies“, says Lena Remneva, the ARF case manager who received the award on behalf of the organization.

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